Due at least partly to the fact that Americans find English accents adorable, U.K. alt-metal bands don't seem nearly as threatening as their American counterparts. For all the band's screamo fits, Funeral for a Friend is ultimately as non-threatening as Clay Aiken on his Christmas disc, while Wales sextet Lostprophets sound even more Wonder Bread.
The animated description of video game Mario Kart -- "That game is evil! You can be first the whole way, and right at the end, someone will throw a bomb at you and you'll fall" -- made in an interview by genial Lostprophets vocalist Ian Watkins before the band's recent appearance on this year's Nintendo Fusion tour, is the kind of thing anime-loving geeks scribble in their Livejournals. But then again, the video game-derived title of the band's first U.S. hit ("Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja") and the tunes on the band's sophomore effort, Start Something, aren't much more evolved. Although its angst and corrugated-metal jags are wholeheartedly sincere, the generic sonics -- fellow yelping radio monsters Story of the Year and the Used are solid touchstones -- make the disc rather unmemorable.